Thursday, June 4, 2015

More Reflection Time with Men on a Bench: Thursday's Reflection

I know when I need to explore a topic more, for something shows up shouting or perhaps, whispering, "You're not done yet. Keep looking." Or in this case, "Sit down. You need more bench time." 

The day after I wrote about two different sculptures of men on benches, (See post.) I noticed another man on a bench, as I walked in the neighborhood. A Buddha figure sitting on a bench under a tree. He looked a little lonely, almost deserted with dried leaves cluttering the bench. Someone had not sat with him for a long time. I suspected he would be more than willing to listen to whatever was on my heart and would invite me to listen to my own heart, sharing the silence with me. With that invitation, my walk became more than trying to achieve my daily 10,000 steps goal. 

So here's my invitation to you. Find a bench or a comfortable chair or a swing in a park and sit. Imagine someone sitting next to you--or if you like, invite someone to come with you, but that someone needs to be willing to sit in silence, to share the space, to listen without judgment. That someone must be able to respond honestly, but compassionately, when asked. Perhaps that someone is your dog, rather than a person, or even a stuffed toy you can hug. Or your journal. Perhaps your friend on the bench will be someone who is no longer physically present --a parent or spouse or friend whom you miss very much. Invite the Buddha of your choice to sit with you. 

That's it. Just sit. Breathe and sit. You can close your eyes, if you wish. If you want to call this meditating, that's fine, but for the moment, just sit. Rest. Clear the space in your head where muddled thoughts reside in a jumbled mess. Pass them on to your friend on the bench for safe-keeping, if you want. As you take the next breath and then the next and on and on, finding your own rhythm, notice what happens in your heart as your head clears. Notice how your heart opens and says, "Notice me. I have something important to say to you." Listen for that still, small voice. One that maybe you have not noticed before. If you feel scared, your friend on the bench will hold your hand. Perhaps the voice has something new to say or perhaps the voice is more of a feeling you have brushed aside and it is asking to live within you and be recognized as a wisdom path for you. 

I don't know what will happen as you sit with your friend on a bench and perhaps nothing notable will happen, but what do you have to lose? I suspect, however, there is much to be gained by sitting with a friend on a bench. You may not notice it right away, but once the inner voice has an audience, be prepared for the ways it tries to get your attention. You may discover that sitting on a bench with a real or imaginary companion is your new spiritual practice. You may start looking for places perfect for sitting. You may find yourself looking forward to these set aside times to sit, to rest, to be. 

An Invitation
I invite you to sit on a bench today, tomorrow and the next day. Who sits with you and what do you discover? Perhaps YOU are the man on the bench. What do you and your companion experience? I would love to know.

A Bonus: My daughter-in-love sent me this photograph of a sculpture of Jim Henson and his special buddy, Kermit the Frog. Wouldn't you love to sit with them? 

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